It was difficult not to feel a little giddy when first hearing that President Barack Obama intends to make good on his campaign promise to protect and restore the Great Lakes.
“President Obama and all of us in his Administration are committed to fulfilling his pledge to protect and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem,” Nancy Sutley, the head of the Council on Environmental Quality said. “The President is committed to creating a Great Lakes trust fund to support restoration work in a sustained multi-year effort.” Sutley, whose role is to advise the President on environmental policy, said these things at a lunch jointly held by the Healing Our Waters Coalition and the Great Lakes Commission in Washington today.
The promised funding will go to updating water infrastructure, cleaning up toxic hot spots, making beaches healthy and restoring habitats. “Investments like this create jobs and improve the economy,” Sutley said.
Some of the Administration’s Great Lakes priorities include cleaning up the Areas of Concern, setting a tough ballast standard to combat invasive species and preventing water diversion or export. “We need to recommit ourselves to federal leadership in the Great Lakes. We will work closely with the EPA and the Great Lakes community.
When questioned, Sutley was not forthcoming on the amount of money that will be in the trust fund or anything related to the budget, but she did say that when the President says he wants something done it is her job to make sure it happens. She also refused to comment on who might be appointed to be a Great Lakes Czar.